August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month
During National Breastfeeding Awareness Month and World Breastfeeding Week, organizations and companies across the globe are making an effort to support women who work and are breastfeeding their children at the same time.
This year's theme is Women and Work - Let's Make It Work, which emphasizes the need for better support systems and policies to allow working mothers to breastfeed.
At Beebe Healthcare, there is a Nursing Mothers Lounge, near the Sunshine Cafe at the Medical Center in Lewes. This room is available for employees and visitors alike to breastfeed or pump for their children.
According to UNICEF, "there are approximately 830 million women workers in the world. Many of them return to work soon after delivering babies, and they need supportive national polices and legislation – such as paid maternity leave and breastfeeding breaks – to enable them to continue breastfeeding. There are also millions more women working in the informal, seasonal or part-time economy who face even greater barriers to breastfeeding. They need strong family and community support to manage the demands of work and breastfeeding their babies."
Beebe Healthcare is dedicated to breastfeeding from the start. This is evidenced through the designation as a Baby-Friendly Hospital. Beebe Healthcare is the first organization in Delaware to earn this international designation, launched as part of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) in 1991 by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Baby-Friendly™:10 steps hospitals must meet:
STEP 1: Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all healthcare staff.
STEP 2: Train all healthcare staff in the skills necessary to implement this policy.
STEP 3: Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
STEP 4: Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
STEP 5: Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation even if they are separated from their infants.
STEP 6: Give infants no food or drink other than breast milk unless medically indicated.
STEP 7: Practice rooming-in to allow mothers and infants to remain together twenty-four hours a day.
STEP 8: Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
STEP 9: Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
STEP 10: Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or birth center.